All Wives

A Different Look at Resentment

September 22, 2021

By Joy Ballard

Resentment looks for someone to blame and often leads to offense or misunderstandings. But if we take a different look at resentment, we can learn something valuable from it.

My Temptation Toward Resentment

For many years, my husband worked 12-hour night shifts as a nurse. I would hear friends talk about their husbands helping with the kids’ baths and bedtimes every evening and wonder what that would feel like. When the weekend finally came, I would assume everyone else had fun Friday night plans while I wrestled our kids to their beds alone. 

I knew my husband would much rather be home in the evenings or go on a date with me than be at work. He was doing what he needed to do for our family in that season. But knowing that didn’t keep resentment from tempting me. Truthfully, I let it in more times than I would like to admit. 

Even if it is a matter of circumstance, not choice, the path to resentment lies wide open. The crossroads of that circumstantial loneliness and resentment is the context in which we will discuss a different less-travelled path.

What Is Resentment?

First, let’s consider what resentment actually is: an impaired expression of hurt. The honest feeling in our heart is hurt, but we feel embarrassed or silly to admit it. Our husband’s absence in what seems like normal parts of life hurts, but we feel guilty for feeling that. 

Instead of admitting the root feeling, we move into the impaired version of hurt: resentment. Rather than facing our true feelings, we deflect the blame towards the circumstances, our spouse, or our friends whose lifestyle we envy. This doesn’t lead anywhere good.

Hope on the Other Side of Resentment

What good is it then to admit hurt? When we are able to admit that it hurts, a new path is opened that we didn’t see before. It’s the path toward healing and courage. 

In the admission that we cannot fulfill our hopes for how we wish life to be, we open a way for God to move into our situation. If we speak truthfully to God about our heart, we place the burdens we carry into his capable hands to do for us what we cannot do. If we speak truthfully with our husbands, we can find comfort in each other, knowing we both wish things could be different.

Resentment looks for someone or something to blame and often leads to offense or misunderstandings. But hurt is an expression of what we value and opens the way for healing and truth.  

Choosing Healing and Truth

It hurts to be alone in those moments when I wish my husband is present. I used to not be able to see another way out other than resentment. But there is another truth and it’s simply this: With God’s help, I can do it! 

  • I got those monkeys to bed! 
  • I navigated plane exchanges and carry-ons and passports with four kids!
  • I got through a crazy Monday and we’re all alive!
  • I took them on the longest road trip I’ve ever driven alone, and it was fun!

Resentment says: I can’t believe I have to do this. Alone. Again! Hope says, With God’s help, I can do this!

We must address our needs without resentment. My husband and I have had many conversations about what I need as a person in order to best thrive as a mom and wife, and likewise for him as a husband and father. But it’s not a conversation with a tone of resentment, because that gets us nowhere. It’s a conversation that includes honesty, good communication skills and teamwork. 

I can have those conversations because I no longer see resentment as the only option. Now I also see other options: creativity, courage, problem solving, prayer, to name a few. The opportunity to grow and experience something new is right behind that annoying option of resentment. 

Shove resentment aside, friend. Send up a prayer, do the necessary things and be proud of yourself. With God’s help, you can do it!

Wife Step: What is one thing that triggers resentment in you? How can you turn it into an opportunity for growth instead?

A different look at resentment
Joy Ballard Square

Joy was born and raised in Mexico, but fell in love with a Minnesota guy. More than a decade, many geographical locations, and four kids later, they are currently settled in the city of Minneapolis, MN. Together they love helping couples discover the incredible adventure marriage was intended to be. They have led many marriage small groups, ministries and retreats, but their favorite way to connect with other couples is by simply sharing life together. Although homeschooling, parenting and helping run their vacation rental take up most of her days, Joy is always finding ways to sneak in time for writing, reading, design and coffee with friends. You can find her posting on Instagram @joy.ballard or @theriverlodgemn. Photo credit: Woodford Sisters Photography

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